Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A MORNING RIDE, by SARA J. CLARKE

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A MORNING RIDE, by            
First Line: When troubled in spirit, when weary of life
Last Line: Of a fearless leap on a fiery steed.
Subject(s): Horseback Riding

WHEN troubled in spirit, when weary of life,
When I faint 'neath its burdens, and shrink from its strife, --
When its fruits turn'd to ashes are mocking my taste,
And its fairest scene seems but a desolate waste;
Then come ye not near me my sad heart to cheer
With friendship's soft accents, or sympathy's tear;
No counsel I ask, and no pity I need,
But bring me, oh, bring me, my gallant young steed.
With his high arch'd neck and his nostril spread wide,
His eye full of fire, and his step full of pride!
As I spring to his back, as I seize the strong rein,
The strength of my spirit returneth again!
The bonds are all broken which fetter'd my mind,
And my cares borne away on the wings of the wind.
My pride lifts its head, for a season bow'd down,
And the queen in my nature now puts on her crown.

Now we're off! like the winds, to the plains whence they came
And the rapture of motion is thrilling my frame.
On, on speeds my courser, scarce printing the sod,
Scarce crushing a daisy to mark where he trod.
On, on, like a deer, when the hounds' early bay
Awakes the wild echoes, away and away!
Still faster, still farther he leaps at my cheer,
'Till the rush of the startled air whirrs in my ear!
Now 'long a clear rivulet lieth my track,
See his glancing hoof tossing the white pebbles back;
Now a glen dark as midnight -- what matter -- we'll down.
Though shadows are round us, and rocks o'er us frown, --
The thick branches shake, as we're hurrying through,
And deck us with spangles of silvery dew!
What a wild thought of triumph, that this girlish hand
Such a steed in the might of his strength may command!
What a glorious creature! Ah, glance at him now,
As I check him awhile on this green hillock's brow,
How he tosses his mane, with a shrill, joyous neigh,
And paws the firm earth in his proud, stately play!
Hurrah, off again, dashing on, as in ire,
Till the long flinty pathway is flashing with fire!
Ho, a ditch! -- shall we pause? No, the bold leap we dare,
Like a swift-winged arrow we rush through the air.
Oh! not all the pleasures that poets may praise,
Not the 'wildering waltz in the ball-room's blaze,
Nor the chivalrous joust, nor the daring race, --
Nor the swift regatta, nor merry chase, --
Nor the sail high heaving waters o'er, --
Nor the rural dance on the moonlight shore,
Can the wild and fearless joy exceed,
Of a fearless leap on a fiery steed.

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